She approaches the boat, her great mass graceful in her element of choice, having returned eons ago from dry land to ocean water, she holds the history of both places.
These creatures both of sea and once-of-land have traversed the world in varied relationships to gravity and earned their way as the record-keepers, the bridge-builders, and the map-makers. They, the whales that is, follow a map that fits, they follow an ancient way - The Rhythm Way, as they close immeasurable distances, attuned to the electromagnetic field of the earth. The hearts of humans in their presence, do remember the sea as we remember the stars, despite ourselves.
It had been a serpentine morning. The drive through the pre-dawn dark across the island, the surprising deluge, the cancelled boat trip...the feeling in the pit of my stomach, far beyond the rational mind, that KNEW, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would make it onto the water. Storm or no storm. She was calling me. Across the bay, up through my feet, into my womb, my heart, my hands.
I, like you, am a modern woman. A modern woman with a side of Witch that lives with the benefits and the burdens of a modern world. I, like you, navigate the crevasses of a western culture that has forgotten how to be in rhythm with the earth and so has forgotten how to be in conversation with soul. I have recognized the in-congruencies of my behavior and so am not exempt. Surprised by my own smallness, my shallow needs to be seen. Not in a whole way, but in a curated, safe way. A shade of me on display for the world to see. The perfect portion of carefully chosen raw, buoyed by what is hidden and secret.
To show you how brave I am. How self-claiming.
My hands... tingling now. All of the stresses of the morning’s journey and the surprising fact of my arrival so not important, as she turns. She’s coming toward me. Her and her newborn calf - only a week old. I squirm down to the lowest part of the boat, lean over the side and put both my hands in the water, palms face out. I can see her clearly, her eye steady. Her countenance is not so much of curiosity, but of deep knowing in the exchange.
To be in conversation with the beings of the Earth is a great gift. Mirroring back to us so fiercely, as in this meeting with the whale. All the modern neuroses that clog our sense of purpose - the forgetting, and the following, and the who-the-fuck-am-I-anyway - settle into sudden and sacred simplicity. We land into our belonging like a coconut falls from a palm tree; with an earthy thud. Its descent both life-giving and life-threatening for whomever or whatever may be below. For whomever and whatever may have come before.
Right then we know...we know our responsibility is often greater than the roles we assume. We know we have perhaps never been truly naked for all to see. We taste the familiar flavor of anonymity and call it safety. Finally recognizing it for what it is - a map and a way that no longer fits. That maybe never did fit. Too small, too constrained, too mundane, too sleepy...
Back home in my modern life in between - not the moon phases, but a (monthly rent) rhythm none-the-less, there are daily brews of black coffee in the pot on the counter, and hourly email checks, and small talk on small, “smart” phones that speak around things, and the choosing of clothes like the choosing of fantasies, and the sense paralysis of disembodiment, and the misplaced and bloated yearning for soul power, made harmful and cruel and too big for balance - or worse, small and deflating working like poison on the inside that sews the eyes and the lips shut, and rounds the back, and turns away from hope and purpose, and we disrespect the earth like we disrespect ourselves...and, and, and...
There is no judgement in the whale’s gaze. Just as there is no judgement in the bones of me. The earth wisdom of me. The ancient knowing of me. The young calf spirals in front of me and I adjust my seat to feel him better, the water now up to my chin as I strain for them. Reaching toward their timeless invitation to follow the path I was born into. My heart thudding and hands shaking with quickening urgency for life is short and the world is in need.
They pass. Onward. Everything is too still, unreal, dream-like. I sit back in the boat, tears streaming down my face, trembling with a knowing that brings me to my knees.
A whale song is stuck in my throat. Filling me, extending my belly round and taut, stretching my skin, dropping into and widening my thighs and hips and breasts, growing my hair long like ocean current, and I feel it. One day in spite of me and all the parameters of our modern world it will burst through me, as it will burst through you and there will be no more small me, as there will be no more small you.
Only gigantic, unstoppable life.
Only ecstatic coupling.
Only dangerous conversation.
Only cliff edge and wide abyss.
Only whale song and wonder.